Former State Insurance Commissioner John Ingram is asking an administrative judge to reverse the State Health Plan's decision not to reimburse roughly $15,000 in transportation expenses to help him get to Duke Medical Center for treatment of an infected hip and a weakened heart.
Ingram is retired and lives in Myrtle Beach. He served as insurance commissioner from 1973 to 1985. His medical issues began with hip surgery in 2005 near his home. The hip became infected and that led to a stroke and heart attack.
Ingram needed surgery to repair the hip, but because of his other health problems, he said the only surgeon he could find to take care of him was at Duke, reports Dan Kane. He said his medical issues also meant that he needed special transport to Durham for several months in 2006.
According to a State Health Plan letter, Ingram was not eligible for reimbursement for the services. It cited the transportation as something the health plan "does not provide benefits for." Health plan officials declined to comment, citing medical privacy laws.
In an interview, Ingram, 79, said the surgery was a success. He can walk with a cane, but he also uses a motorized scooter to get around. He said the State Health Plan is wrong not to reimburse him for a service that he desperately needed.
"If I hadn't been able to pay for the transportation myself I'd be dead by now," Ingram said.